Oct. 24, 2011

Where In The World Will You Find The Purest Air?

Pollution may damage your health and has been blamed for quite a few respiratory problems, the worst offenses being seen in cities. One of the most striking stories about air pollution recently concerned China and how, for the 2008 Olympics, had to purify their air. Not only were residents discouraged from driving and factories shut down during this event, there were also air blowers and aircraft working to disperse the smog cover that always surrounds Beijing. Sadly even with these drastic measures it didn't completely clear the issue, with athletes claiming they were under performing due to air quality and problems with breathing.

China may have pollution problems, but Canada is completely the opposite. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Canada’s cities are at the top of the rankings with the greatest air quality in the world.

WHO wanted to measure air pollution levels in numerous cities and countries to supplement medical and health research and provide quality information for policymakers. The report concentrated on the disease burden caused by the health risks of air pollution for each city and was called Outdoor Air Pollution. To put things into perspective, outdoor air pollution is believed to to account for 1.4 per cent of total mortality and other common health problems.

The guide used by the WHO is the compound mass of microscopic airborne particles per cubic metre, measured in micrograms. It acknowledges that places more dependent on coal, areas with hardly any air circulation (wind), and cities with a lot of traffic are susceptible to a greater health risk.

From all of 91 countries and 1,100 cities all over the world, Canadian cities took eight of the the Top 10 least polluted cities in the analysis. Of all the cities analyzed around the world, the capital city of Yukon, Whitehorse ranked first by a big margin! According to this report of The Toronto Star, Whitehorse is followed by Kitimat and Burns Lake, both in British Columbia.

The WHO recommends that there should be less than 20 micrograms of pollution per cubic metre and just about all Canadians fell within those rules. Even though 21.2 µg/m3 is a little higher than the advised amount, our "worst" city isn't too far over the limit and that was Sarnia in Ontario. Of course Canada does have some advantages over other parts of the world as it has a smaller population density, but some of the credit needs to go to the control mechanisms and stringent regulations on pollution that we put in place.

An island east of Madagascar, Mauitius and Estonia in Europe were the only areas that had a higher overall result than Canada had Somewhat surprisingly, the country with the worst air pollution is Mongolia (likely its capital of Ulaanbaatar), closely followed by a few cities in India, Pakistan, and Iran.. Written by Toronto MLS realtor.